I'm no stranger to pattern drafting, in fact most of my costumes have been a custom creation by necessity! Firstly, to create (or recreate) a specific idea. Secondly, because my measurements don't seem to neatly fit a single size category. However, I have had some struggles with my Victorian creations. I finally pinpointed the issue - the corset.
Corsets do more than tuck in the waist, they completely change the silhouette of the body. I've always managed to make reasonable adjustments for the differing distances between measure points (bust, waist, etc.) but struggles with sleeve holes and collars. The answer to this, is to make the measurements with a corset on... (duh.)
Yep, I'm a genius, right?
So, for the first time, I decided on the cheatyface approach, and got mummified. (Full disclaimer, I was not in fact embalmed.) I got a helper at my job to wrap me up, first with layers of plastic wrap, then with broad masking tape. Lesson one - let the plastic wrap cover far more than the tape, peeling it off the tops of my boobs hurt. A lot.
I then cut it into pattern sized pieces, as straight as one can manage on layers of tape and cling film. These were measured and traced, then smoothed out for my pattern pieces.
Next, I prepared the materials. Oh? You thought I just went and bought some fabric? Where's the fun in that!? Why would I buy fabric, when my parents just cleared out all the curtains from a large room?
Well, I mean, there is all the work that goes into reclaiming the fabric... but that 70s Victorian revival cannot be beat!
I did the test sewing with some white satin, if it works it becomes the lining. If not, well back to the drawing board! It did need a minor tweak, minor enough to avoid remaking the entire thing. I then used the pieces (notice I'm adding a seam allowance to the fabric, instead of the pattern pieces, this allows me to use the pattern with very different fabrics that might require a different allowance.) to cut my finals.
Voila! It fit on the first try! Now onto sleeves... and skirt... and bustle... oh my. My consensus on the Mummy method? 10/10 - Would wrap again! (Stay tuned for more post about the finished product...